On August 7, the USAID Clean Energy and Water Program presented the draft Southern Basin Management Plan to key stakeholders in the Government of Armenia, the National Assembly, science and academic institutions, the private sector, NGOs, and international organizations involved in natural resources management and protection in Armenia.
The draft document, developed in close collaboration with the Ministry of Nature Protection and the Water Resources Management Agency, consolidates the basin management plans for the Vorotan, Voghji and Meghriget rivers that were prepared by the Clean Energy and Water Program (CEWP) during its four years of operation in Armenia.
The presentation of the draft Southern Basin Management Plan was attended by Karen Hilliard, USAID Armenia Mission Director; Vache Gabrielyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Economic Integration and Reforms; Aramayis Grigoryan, Minister of Nature Protection; Yervand Zakharyan, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources; Sergo Karapetyan, Minister of Agriculture; and other officials from the ministries of finance, economy, and health, and the National Assembly of Armenia.
In his opening remarks, Minister Grigoryan highlighted USAID’s role in the institutional development of the Water Resources Management Agency and its basin management organizations, as well as USAID’s assistance in the assessment of the groundwater resources in the Ararat valley and the elaboration of water management plans for the Vorotan, Voghji and Meghriget rivers, which have in turn enabled the development of the comprehensive Southern Basin Management Plan. The head of USAID Armenia, Karen Hilliard, reiterated the need for integrated resource planning to ensure more sustainable management of water systems in Armenia considering its economic, social and environmental challenges.
The Southern Basin is of particular importance due to the extensive industrial activity in the region. Different forms of human activity such as mining, farming, growth of small hydro power plants and untreated wastewater discharge leave their negative imprint on the environment. This leads to pollution of water and soil, loss of biodiversity, and depletion of natural resources in the rivers of the Southern Basin.
During the event, CEWP also presented the decision support system (DSS) software developed through USAID support. Designed in collaboration with local stakeholders, this software provides information on the quality and quantity of the country’s current water resources as well as the likelihood of their future availability in view of the climate change and local economic activity. The DSS was designed to enable more informed decision making, particularly in issuing water use permits.
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The Clean Energy and Water Program is a USAID-funded project designed to support Armenia in improving sustainable management of water and energy sectors through capacity building, promoting integrated energy and water resource planning, improving the application of water regulation, implementing clean energy and water demonstration projects, and conducting public outreach activities.